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Mary Kouyoumdjian

Brooklyn, NY      

MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.

Kouyoumdjian has received commissions for such organizations as the New York Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum/JFund, Roomful of Teeth, WQXR, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, Helen Simoneau Danse, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. Her documentary work was recently presented by the New York Philharmonic Biennial and has also been performed internationally at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, the Barbican Centre, Cabrillo Festival, Millennium Park, Benaroya Hall, Big Ears Festival, 21C Music Festival, and Cal Performances. Her residencies include those with Alarm Will Sound/The Mizzou International Composers Festival, Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, and Exploring the Metropolis. Her music has been described as “eloquently scripted” and “emotionally wracking” by The New York Times and as “politically fearless” and “the most harrowing moments on stage at any New York performance” by New York Music Daily.  In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a diverse array of motion pictures including orchestrating on the soundtracks to The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films). 

Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian studies primarily with Zosha Di Castri, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis. She holds an M.A. in Composition from Columbia University, an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University, and a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steven Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis. Dedicated to new music advocacy, Kouyoumdjian is a Co-Founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, served as Co-Artistic Director of Alaska’s new music festival Wild Shore New Music. As an avid educator, Kouyoumdjian has taught at the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program, Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, Columbia University, is on composition faculty at The New School’s Mannes Prep and teaches at Brooklyn College’s Feirstein School of Cinema. Kouyoumdjian is proud to be published by Schott’s PSNY.  

NewMusicBox Articles

Articles December 21 2015 | By Mary Kouyoumdjian
Good Old-Fashioned Human-to-Human Connection on a Very Honest Level

When I heard that Daniel Felsenfeld, Lainie Fefferman, and Matt Marks were creating this conference, I wanted in even though I didn’t really like conferences--they make me think of barriers...